Reports show prosecutors from the Justice Department claim that the individual accused with disclosing the tax returns of former President Trump actively sought out his position as an IRS consultant with the intent of disclosing the material.
After working at Booze Allen from 2008–2013, Charles Littlejohn came back in 2017 to serve as an IRS consultant. The prosecution claims that his career move was an attempt to have access to confidential tax records in order to disclose Trump’s tax returns.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that Littlejohn believed Trump posed a danger to democracy. According to the prosecution, Littlejohn used his unfettered access to taxpayer information to promote his own political goals, thinking he was immune to consequences.
They went on to say that although a free press and public participation in the media are essential to a functioning democracy, the theft and disclosure of people’ private tax information violates the legal protections afforded to their most sensitive data.
The DOJ also said that Littlejohn had a complex and well-thought-out strategy to covertly obtain Trump’s and other affluent people’s tax returns in 2018. Littlejohn then transferred the tax returns to a website he controlled, enabling him to evade IRS systems designed to identify massive data transfers. He duplicated the data many times and kept it for almost six months until he contacted the New York Times. The DOJ claimed that a flash drive with the data was concealed inside the lining of a hardwood leather box.
Subsequently, Littlejohn provided ProPublica with the tax returns of thousands of affluent Americans, and the contents of Trump’s returns were covered in many pieces published by the NY Times. As a result, many stories were published that exposed the fifteen-year tax records of several individuals, including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and many more.
Late last year, Republicans on Capitol Hill were disappointed that Littlejohn, who leaked the private data of thousands of Americans, was only charged with one count of illegal publication of tax information. The decision is despite Littlejohn’s admissions that he made two separate disclosures to two separate news organizations, which have affected thousands of taxpayers.
Washington DC District Judge Ana C. Reyes will hand down his punishment on January 29.
The Trump legal team has asked for the maximum punishment of five years in jail for Littlejohn.